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Profile: Robert Charles Cummins (University of California, Davis)
Profile: Robert Cummins (University of California, Davis)
  1.  45
    Robert C. Cummins (1989). Meaning and Mental Representation. MIT Press.
  2.  27
    Robert C. Cummins (1983). The Nature of Psychological Explanation. MIT Press.
  3. Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
  4.  64
    Robert C. Cummins (1996). Representations, Targets, and Attitudes. MIT Press.
  5. Robert C. Cummins (2000). "How Does It Work" Versus "What Are the Laws?": Two Conceptions of Psychological Explanation. In F. Keil & Robert A. Wilson (eds.), Explanation and Cognition, 117-145. MIT Press
    In the beginning, there was the DN (Deductive Nomological) model of explanation, articulated by Hempel and Oppenheim (1948). According to DN, scientific explanation is subsumption under natural law. Individual events are explained by deducing them from laws together with initial conditions (or boundary conditions), and laws are explained by deriving them from other more fundamental laws, as, for example, the simple pendulum law is derived from Newton's laws of motion.
     
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  6. Andre Ariew, Robert C. Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.) (2002). Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology. Oxford University Press.
  7. Robert C. Cummins (1977). Programs in the Explanation of Behavior. Philosophy of Science 44 (June):269-87.
    The purpose of this paper is to set forth a sense in which programs can and do explain behavior, and to distinguish from this a number of senses in which they do not. Once we are tolerably clear concerning the sort of explanatory strategy being employed, two rather interesting facts emerge; (1) though it is true that programs are "internally represented," this fact has no explanatory interest beyond the mere fact that the program is executed; (2) programs which are couched (...)
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  8. Robert A. Cummins, G. C. Myers, E. L. Cornell, A. I. Gates & A. T. Poffenberger (1918). New York Branch of the American Psychological Association. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 15 (5):130-134.
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  9. James Blackmon, David Byrd, Robert C. Cummins, Alexa Lee & Martin Roth (2006). Representation and Unexploited Content. In Graham F. Macdonald & David Papineau (eds.), Teleosemantics. Oxford University Press
    In this paper, we introduce a novel difficulty for teleosemantics, viz., its inability to account for what we call unexploited content—content a representation has, but which the system that harbors it is currently unable to exploit. In section two, we give a characterization of teleosemantics. Since our critique does not depend on any special details that distinguish the variations in the literature, the characterization is broad, brief and abstract. In section three, we explain what we mean by unexploited content, and (...)
     
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  10. Robert C. Cummins (1998). Reflection on Reflective Equilibrium. In Michael DePaul & William Ramsey (eds.), Rethinking Intuition. Rowman & Littlefield 113-128.
    As a procedure, reflective equilibrium is simply a familiar kind of standard scientific method with a new name. A theory is constructed to account for a set of observations. Recalcitrant data may be rejected as noise or explained away as the effects of interference of some sort. Recalcitrant data that cannot be plausibly dismissed force emendations in theory. What counts as a plausible dismissal depends, among other things, on the going theory, as well as on background theory and on knowledge (...)
     
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  11.  58
    Robert C. Cummins (1986). Inexplicit Information. In Myles Brand & Robert M. Harnish (eds.), The Representation of Knowledge and Belief. University of Arizona Press
    A discussion of a number of ways that information can be present in a computer program without being explicitly represented.
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  12. Robert C. Cummins (2002). Neo-Teleology. In Andre Ariew, Robert E. Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.), Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology. Oxford University Press
    Neo-teleology is the two part thesis that, e.g., (i) we have hearts because of what hearts are for: Hearts are for blood circulation, not the production of a pulse, so hearts are there--animals have them--because their function is to circulate the blood, and (ii) that (i) is explained by natural selection: traits spread through populations because of their functions. This paper attacks this popular doctrine. The presence of a biological trait or structure is not explained by appeal to its function. (...)
     
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  13. Robert C. Cummins (1996). Systematicity. Journal of Philosophy 93 (12):591-614.
  14. James Blackmon, David Byrd, Robert C. Cummins, Pierre Poirier, Martin Roth & George Schwarz (2001). Systematicity and the Cognition of Structured Domains. Journal of Philosophy 98 (4):1-19.
    The current debate over systematicity concerns the formal conditions a scheme of mental representation must satisfy in order to explain the systematicity of thought.1 The systematicity of thought is assumed to be a pervasive property of minds, and can be characterized (roughly) as follows: anyone who can think T can think systematic variants of T, where the systematic variants of T are found by permuting T’s constituents. So, for example, it is an alleged fact that anyone who can think the (...)
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  15. Robert C. Cummins & Martin Roth (2012). Meaning and Content in Cognitive Science. In Richard Schantz (ed.), Prospects for Meaning. De Gruyter
    What are the prospects for a cognitive science of meaning? As stated, we think this question is ill posed, for it invites the conflation of several importantly different semantic concepts. In this paper, we want to distinguish the sort of meaning that is an explanandum for cognitive science—something we are going to call meaning—from the sort of meaning that is an explanans in cognitive science—something we are not going to call meaning at all, but rather content. What we are going (...)
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  16.  8
    Robert C. Cummins (1975). The Philosophical Problem of Truth-Of. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):103 - 122.
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  17. Robert Cummins, James Blackmon, David Byrd, Pierre Poirier, Martin Roth & Georg Schwarz (2001). Systematicity and the Cognition of Structured Domains. Journal of Philosophy 98 (4):167 - 185.
    The current debate over systematicity concerns the formal conditions a scheme of mental representation must satisfy in order to explain the systematicity of thought.1 The systematicity of thought is assumed to be a pervasive property of minds, and can be characterized (roughly) as follows: anyone who can think T can think systematic variants of T, where the systematic variants of T are found by permuting T’s constituents. So, for example, it is an alleged fact that anyone who can think the (...)
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  18.  7
    Robert C. Cummins & John L. Pollock (eds.) (1992). Philosophy and AI: Essays at the Interface. MIT Press.
    Philosophy and AI presents invited contributions that focus on the different perspectives and techniques that philosophy and AI bring to the theory of ...
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  19. Robert C. Cummins (1997). The LOT of the Causal Theory of Mental Content. Journal of Philosophy 94 (10):535-542.
    The thesis of this paper is that the causal theory of mental content (hereafter CT) is incompatible with an elementary fact of perceptual psychology, namely, that the detection of distal properties generally requires the mediation of a “theory.” I shall call this fact the nontransducibility of distal properties (hereafter NTDP). The argument proceeds in two stages. The burden of stage one is that, taken together, CT and the language of thought hypothesis (hereafter LOT) are incompatible with NTDP. The burden of (...)
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  20. Robert C. Cummins (2002). Truth and Meaning. In Joseph Keim-Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth: Investigations in Philosophical Semantics. Seven Bridges Press 175-197.
    D O N A L D D AV I D S O N’S “ Meaning and Truth,” re vo l u t i o n i zed our conception of how truth and meaning are related (Davidson    ). In that famous art i c l e , Davidson put forw a rd the bold conjecture that meanings are satisfaction conditions, and that a Tarskian theory of truth for a language is a theory of meaning for that language. (...)
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  21. Denise D. Cummins & Robert C. Cummins (1999). Biological Preparedness and Evolutionary Explanation. Cognition 73 (3):B37-B53.
    It is commonly supposed that evolutionary explanations of cognitive phenomena involve the assumption that the capacities to be explained are both innate and modular. This is understandable: independent selection of a trait requires that it be both heritable and largely decoupled from other `nearby' traits. Cognitive capacities realized as innate modules would certainly satisfy these contraints. A viable evolutionary cognitive psychology, however, requires neither extreme nativism nor modularity, though it is consistent with both. In this paper, we seek to show (...)
     
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  22.  11
    Robert C. Cummins & Georg Schwarz (1991). Connectionism, Computation, and Cognition. In Terence E. Horgan & John L. Tienson (eds.), Connectionism and the Philosophy of Mind. Kluwer 60--73.
  23.  29
    Martin Roth & Robert Cummins (2014). Two Tales of Functional Explanation. Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):773-788.
    This paper considers two ways functions figure into scientific explanations: (i) via laws?events are causally explained by subsuming those events under functional laws; and (ii) via designs?capacities are explained by specifying the functional design of a system. We argue that a proper understanding of how functions figure into design explanations of capacities makes it clear why such functions are ill-suited to figure into functional-cum-causal law explanations of events, as those explanations are typically understood. We further argue that a proper understanding (...)
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  24.  50
    Robert Cummins, Martin Roth & Ian Harmon (2014). Why It Doesn't Matter to Metaphysics What Mary Learns. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):541-555.
    The Knowledge Argument of Frank Jackson has not persuaded physicalists, but their replies have not dispelled the intuition that someone raised in a black and white environment gains genuinely new knowledge when she sees colors for the first time. In what follows, we propose an explanation of this particular kind of knowledge gain that displays it as genuinely new, but orthogonal to both physicalism and phenomenology. We argue that Mary’s case is an instance of a common phenomenon in which something (...)
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  25. James Blackmon, David Byrd, Robert C. Cummins, Pierre Poirier & Martin Roth (2005). Atomistic Learning in Non-Modular Systems. Philosophical Psychology 18 (3):313-325.
    We argue that atomistic learning?learning that requires training only on a novel item to be learned?is problematic for networks in which every weight is available for change in every learning situation. This is potentially significant because atomistic learning appears to be commonplace in humans and most non-human animals. We briefly review various proposed fixes, concluding that the most promising strategy to date involves training on pseudo-patterns along with novel items, a form of learning that is not strictly atomistic, but which (...)
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  26. Denise D. Cummins & Robert C. Cummins (2005). Innate Modules Vs Innate Learning Biases. Cognitive Processing.
    Proponents of the dominant paradigm in evolutionary psychology argue that a viable evolutionary cognitive psychology requires that specific cognitive capacities be heritable and “quasi-independent” from other heritable traits, and that these requirements are best satisfied by innate cognitive modules. We argue here that neither of these are required in order to describe and explain how evolution shaped the mind.
     
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  27. Robert C. Cummins (1995). Connectionism and the Rationale Constraint on Cognitive Explanations. Philosophical Perspectives 9:105-25.
  28.  40
    Robert C. Cummins, Pierre Poirier & Martin Roth (2004). Epistemological Strata and the Rules of Right Reason. Synthese 141 (3):287 - 331.
    It has been commonplace in epistemology since its inception to idealize away from computational resource constraints, i.e., from the constraints of time and memory. One thought is that a kind of ideal rationality can be specified that ignores the constraints imposed by limited time and memory, and that actual cognitive performance can be seen as an interaction between the norms of ideal rationality and the practicalities of time and memory limitations. But a cornerstone of naturalistic epistemology is that normative assessment (...)
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  29.  98
    Robert C. Cummins (1992). Conceptual Role Semantics and the Explanatory Role of Content. Philosophical Studies 65 (1-2):103-127.
    I've tried to argue that there is more to representational content than CRS can acknowledge. CRS is attractive, I think, because of its rejection of atomism, and because it is a plausible theory of targets. But those are philosopher's concerns. Someone interested in building a person needs to understand representation, because, as AI researchers have urged for some time, good representation is the secret of good performance. I have just gestured in the direction I think a viable theory of representation (...)
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  30.  7
    Robert Cummins & Martin Roth (2010). Traits Have Not Evolved to Function the Way They Do Because of a Past Advantage. In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell Pub. 72--88.
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  31.  64
    Robert C. Cummins (2000). Reply to Millikan. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):113-127.
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  32. Robert C. Cummins (1991). The Role of Mental Meaning in Psychological Explanation. In Brian P. McLaughlin (ed.), Dretske and His Critics. Blackwell
  33.  15
    Robert C. Cummins & Dale Gottlieb (1972). On an Argument for Truth-Functionality. American Philosophical Quarterly 9 (3):265 - 269.
    Quine argued that any context allowing substitution of logical equivalents and coextensive terms is truth functional. We argue that Quine's proof for this claim is flawed.
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  34.  69
    Robert C. Cummins (1991). Methodological Reflections on Belief. In R. Bogdan (ed.), Mind and Common Sense. Cambridge University Press 53--70.
  35.  66
    Robert C. Cummins & Pierre Poirier (2004). Representation and Indication. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Representation in Mind. Elsevier 21--40.
    This paper is about two kinds of mental content and how they are related. We are going to call them representation and indication. We will begin with a rough characterization of each. The differences, and why they matter, will, hopefully, become clearer as the paper proceeds.
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  36.  43
    Robert C. Cummins (1991). The Role of Representation in Connectionist Explanation of Cognitive Capacities. In William Ramsey, Stephen P. Stich & D. Rumelhart (eds.), Philosophy and Connectionist Theory. Lawrence Erlbaum 91--114.
  37.  99
    Robert C. Cummins (1976). States, Causes, and the Law of Inertia. Philosophical Studies 29 (1):21 - 36.
    I argue that Galileo regarded unaccelerated motion as requiring cause to sustain in. In an inclined plane experiment, the cause ceases when the incline ceases. When the incline ceases, what ceases is acceleration, not motion. Hence, unaccelerated motion requires no cause to sustain it.
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  38.  84
    Robert C. Cummins (1978). The Missing Shade of Blue. Philosophical Review 87 (October):548-565.
  39.  5
    Denise Dellarosa Cummins & Robert Cummins (1999). Biological Preparedness and Evolutionary Explanation. Cognition 73 (3):B37-B53.
  40.  12
    Robert C. Cummins (1981). What Can Be Learned From Brainstorms? Philosophical Topics 12 (1):83-92.
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  41.  39
    Robert C. Cummins (1974). Dispositions, States and Causes. Analysis 34 (6):194 - 204.
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  42.  14
    Robert C. Cummins, James Blackmon & David Byrd (2005). What Systematicity Isn't. Journal of Philosophical Research 30:405-408.
    In “On Begging the Systematicity Question,” Wayne Davis criticizes the suggestion of Cummins et al. that the alleged systematicity of thought is not as obvious as is sometimes supposed, and hence not reliable evidence for the language of thought hypothesis. We offer a brief reply.
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  43.  4
    Robert Cummins & Georg Schwarz (1988). Radical Connectionism1. Southern Journal of Philosophy 26 (S1):43-61.
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  44. Robert C. Cummins (2002). Haugeland on Representation and Intentionality. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Philosophy of Mental Representation. Oxford University Press
    Haugeland doesn’t have what I would call a theory of mental representation. Indeed, it isn’t clear that he believes there is such a thing. But he does have a theory of intentionality and a correlative theory of objectivity, and it is this material that I will be discussing in what follows. It will facilitate the discussion that follows to have at hand some distinctions and accompanying terminology I introduced in Representations, Targets and Attitudes (Cummins, 1996; RTA hereafter). Couching the discussion (...)
     
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  45.  33
    Robert C. Cummins (1975). Truth and Logical Form. Journal of Philosophical Logic 4 (1):29 - 44.
  46.  37
    Robert C. Cummins (1983). Analysis and Subsumption in the Behaviorism of Hull. Philosophy of Science 50 (March):96-111.
    The background hypothesis of this essay is that psychological phenomena are typically explained, not by subsuming them under psychological laws, but by functional analysis. Causal subsumption is an appropriate strategy for explaining changes of state, but not for explaining capacities, and it is capacities that are the central explananda of psychology. The contrast between functional analysis and causal subsumption is illustrated, and the background hypothesis supported, by a critical reassessment of the motivational psychology of Clark Hull. I argue that Hull's (...)
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  47.  22
    Robert C. Cummins (1979). Intention, Meaning and Truth-Conditions. Philosophical Studies 35 (4):345 - 360.
    In this paper, I sketch a revision of jonathan bennett's "meaning-Nominalist strategy" for explaining the conventional meanings of utterance-Types. Bennett's strategy does not explain sentence-Meaning by appeal to sub-Sentential meanings, And hence cannot hope to yield a theory that assigns a meaning to every sentence. I revise the strategy to make it applicable to predication and identification. The meaning-Convention for a term can then be used to fix its satisfaction conditions. Adapting a familiar trick of tarski's, We can then determine (...)
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  48.  46
    Denise D. Cummins, Robert C. Cummins & Pierre Poirier (2003). Cognitive Evolutionary Psychology Without Representational Nativism. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 15 (2):143-159.
    A viable evolutionary cognitive psychology requires that specific cognitive capacities be (a) heritable and (b) ‘quasi-independent’ from other heritable traits. They must be heritable because there can be no selection for traits that are not. They must be quasi-independent from other heritable traits, since adaptive variations in a specific cognitive capacity could have no distinctive consequences for fitness if effecting those variations required widespread changes in other unrelated traits and capacities as well. These requirements would be satisfied by innate cognitive (...)
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  49. Robert Cummins (1994). Interpretational Semantics. In Steven P. Stitch & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), mental representation: a reader. Blackwell
    This is a condensed version of the material in chapters 8-10 in Meaning and Mental Representation (MIT, 1989). It is an explanation and defence of a theory of content for the mind considered as a symbolic computational process. It is a view i abandoned shortly thereafter when I abandoned symbolic computatioalism as a viable theory of cognition.
     
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  50.  19
    Robert C. Cummins (1981). What Can Be Learned From Brainstorms? Philosophical Topics 12 (1):83-92.
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